BEND, OR -- The Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office has released details of the nearly two-year internal investigation into a former Lieutenant, which outlines a pattern of belittling behavior by the supervisor over several years. Lt. Tim Leak was put on paid administrative leave in May 2016, after the investigation into Captain Scott Beard turned up allegations that the two repeatedly bullied subordinates and instructed detectives not to accurately record overtime hours, among other policy violations.
In documents obtained by KBND News, one co-worker describes Leak as "sarcastic, cynical and belittling, without leadership skills. Lt. Leak is not open to input from other staff, and has poor leadership skills." Another said, "both Beard and Lt. Leak did not treat detectives well. Both would ridicule detectives in front of co-workers or other people." They added, "When Lt. Leak was not around Beard, he would be a bully to detectives. Lt. Leak was arrogant and subordinates did not want to talk to him." Similar observations were echoed by a number of other staff.
Beard is now in prison for embezzling from the Sheriff’s Office. Captain Paul Garrison says there’s no evidence Leak was involved in criminal activity, but his pattern of behavior was concerning, "The Sheriff, ultimately, and subsequently myself, as one of the Captains within the agency and my two counterparts, we have a responsibility to the people we work with to provide a healthy environment for them to work within. Because, obviously, a healthy employee is an effective employee; and there were challenges with that." He tells KBND News Leak's actions were not in line with the mission and values of the Sheriff’s Office, "We have an obligation to the citizens to look after that agency that they spend their hard-earned tax dollars for. We are here to ensure that we are putting the best agency out there to protect them and serve them as effectively as we can. Regardless of how many of these we have, that is still going to be the line in the sand that we adhere to."
Both Leak and Beard were promoted under Sheriff Blanton. Captain Garrison acknowledges there were warning signs that the two were not cut out to be supervisors, including the discovery that Beard falsified military documents to cover up the fact he was discharged from the Navy "under other than honorable conditions." Garrison says, "We need to be effective in the review of our processes all the time. I mention the word ‘vetting’ someone, and we have continued to try to be better at vetting the individuals that we promote within the agency - that serve in specialty positions - for these very reasons."
Addressing criticism that the investigation took longer than was necessary, Garrison explains the case was delayed when the original outside investigator, hired to look into the allegations against Leak and several others, was forced to retire for health reasons. "The new investigator had to basically try to familiarize himself with the body of work, as well as conducting the other investigations." Leak retired this past February
, effectively closing the investigation prior to its official conclusion. He was paid over $230,000 during his administrative leave, and received another $33,330 under the terms of his retirement agreement. Garrison says the arrangement saved the county money in the long run, "Obviously, at that point when Mr. Leak made his intentions known that he was going to retire, what was recognized was that this was a business decision. And, that's why the Sheriff made that decision to go forward with it; that's what we would conclude it as, essentially an administrative closure."
That outcome means Leak could potentially work for another law enforcement agency, but Garrison says, "You would hope that an agency that were to hire someone who worked in a field such as law enforcement would do their homework."